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Press statement by Viktor Orbán after talks with Matteo Salvini, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister of Italy

I am also honoured to welcome you all – particularly Federal Secretary Salvini. We are honoured that he is visiting us. Recently Italian-Hungarian economic relations have been developing extremely dynamically, and cooperation between the governments of our two countries has reached its highest point so far. There are three important things on which I agree with Federal Secretary Salvini, and which have laid the foundations of friendship for today’s meeting. The first is that both of us love our countries, and we believe that there will not be a strong Europe without strong and successful nation states. We also agreed that in our continent ​​ priority must be given to European culture based on Christian values. And we agree that Europe’s borders must be defended against the migrant invasion; and we don’t just talk about this, but we also take action. This is why we went to Röszke on the Serbian-Hungarian border this morning, where I showed the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior the defence system: the border fence and the defence zone with which we’re defending Hungary. And I made no secret of the fact that we respect the Federal Secretary for his efforts in achieving on the sea what we have done on land. For Hungary his success is of crucial importance. He must succeed in the attempt to prove that the migrant invasion can be stopped not only on the land route but also on the sea route; and I can confidently say that his success aligns with Hungary’s national interests. I told the Federal Secretary that border defence has cost Hungary more than one billion euros. We have received nothing from Brussels: they didn’t relieve us of any part of this burden. They have a sack full of promises, but they’re not willing to even partly finance the border fence. I think that this is wrong. I also told the Federal Secretary of the Hungarian proposal to set up a new body of interior ministers from the Schengen Area countries, to take powers related to migration away from the European Commission and give them to this council of interior ministers, and to give money to those countries that are actually defending the external Schengen borders. I’d like to make it clear that when it comes to border protection, the citizens of Europe will benefit from listening to Italy and Hungary rather than President Macron. Of course since we’re preparing for the European Parliament elections we also talked about cooperation between our parties. If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to respond to them.